Am I a bicycle commuter now?


Two months ago I started collecting my thoughts on commuting by bike, mostly to convince myself to giving it a shot. Being in the middle of the winter, the weather was pretty rough for a period of time after that, but about a month later I rode to work for the first time. The weather was still a bit questionable on that day, with a very strong crosswind, but I went anyway and was thrilled to have taken the first pedal stroke.

This was 3-4 weeks ago, and including that first time I've now commuted by bike ten times. I've been working from home at least two days during this period as well, so I've actually commuted almost 60% by bike. That's a good start! One of the reasons this has worked out so well is that the weather has been surprisingly decent for this time of the year, with very little rain. I still haven't invested in rain clothes, so my choice of transportation is pretty weather-dependent.

Mornings like this, however, riding to work is a real pleasure.


I ride my simple but robust Skeppshult bicycle. Since it lacks racks or other luggage space I pack everything I need in a pretty tight Haglöfs Corker backpack. It has a laptop compartment along the back with just enough room for my 14" MacBook Pro in a neoprene sleeve. I also bring my notepad, lunchbox, a spare t-shirt, and a flexible steel lock for the bike. After a couple of rides I noticed my saddle had started coming loose, and added a small set of Allen keys to the backpack as well.

During this period we've had typical early spring weather, with temperatures between -2 and 8°C or so. I ride in my regular, casual office clothes, usually a pair of chinos and a t-shirt with a hoodie or a button-down shirt over, and then a fleece jacket as an outer layer.

I usually have a tailwind going to the office. Since it's also pretty cool in the morning, I rarely get sweaty from that ride. I've changed into my spare t-shirt once, but I wouldn't say it was strictly necessary, I just really want to avoid smelling offensive in the office. The ride home is a different story. It's warmer that time of the day, there's almost always a headwind, and the last kilometer (after battling that headwind over the open fields) is up a pretty tall hill. I've arrived at home very sweaty a number of times, but of course that isn't much of a problem. I think I'll have to find a thinner jacket soon though, since I tend to get very sweaty even without the middle layer of clothing.


The only thing I've been tweaking is my saddle position. I was a bit uncomfortable the first few rides, which is natural I guess, but also got a bit of numbness in the nether regions. After watching a few bike fitting videos and learning that most people (especially men) have their saddles too high, I tried lowering mine a bit. I think I got a bit of a smoother stroke as a result, and the numbness problem all but went away. I might try tweaking the position a bit more, but I think it's pretty good where it's at now.


After a couple of weeks I went to work by bike two days in a row for the first time, and after that an old annoying knee pain of mine re-surfaced. It's probably something like runner's knee or jumper's knee. I did see a physiotherapist about it regularly a few years ago, which had a positive effect, so I was pretty bummed-out about having it back. I really want to keep riding to work, and I've also signed up for a pretty cool half-marathon next summer, and have been thinking of my biking as a low-impact way of increasing my fitness and strenthening my legs before starting running again.

I decided to try riding to work again a couple of days later, and to my relief didn't feel any pain, so I've kept going. There's no way to tell whether the pain was caused by riding the bike or not. Perhaps I jumped around too much playing with the kids or something, I can't really remember. It's come and gone a bit since then, but it's been very mild and seemingly not gotten worse by biking.


I feel really good on the days when I commute by bike. It's a great way of starting the day, and I get a lot of energy from it. From a physical perspective, the commute of course consumes energy rather than producing it, usually between 6-700 kcal for the rountrip according to my Apple watch, and I've noticed I feel more hungry now. I've also lost almost 2 kg without any other changes or efforts, so that's a nice side effect!


If I could find a good set of rain clothes I could see myself going all-in on bike commuting after getting used to it properly. I just hope I don't get held back by any annoying injuries. Riding every day I would really start to see financial benefits from it, on top of all the other positives, as I wouldn't have to pay for the monthly parking permit that I have now. In fact, I think I'm almost at the point where it would have been cheaper to pay by the hour for the days when I do drive rather than getting the monthly permit. Without rain clothes, however, not getting one is a bit of a gamble.

I record all my rides on Strava, and I'm always happy to find more inspiring people on there, so feel free to give me a follow. Happy riding!